Hollywood Wines & Dines Kiwi Politicians To Get Them To Support Hollywood's Copyright Insanity In TPP

from the don't-fold dept

The whole Megaupload/Dotcom mess seems to have really woken up New Zealand to just how much damage an overzealous interpretation of copyright laws can do. New Zealand has already passed a ridiculous three strikes law that US diplomats offered to write for them — but it seems that the whole Megaupload case has many in the country rethinking their government’s support for Hollywood’s interpretation of copyright.

And that actually represents a big problem for Hollywood, because New Zealand has been a key force in pushing back on Hollywood’s plans for copyright expansionism in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. But Hollywood (and the USTR) need New Zealand to come on board, so they’ve moved into aggressive lobbying mode. Prime Minister John Key, fresh off of apologizing to Kim Dotcom, showed up in Hollywood recently to be wined and dined by studio execs:

The movie industry’s main motives for wining, dining and flattering the Prime Minister were not about Dotcom or subsidies, although it has an obvious interest in both.

The end-goal is to get Key’s Government to drop its opposition to aggressive United States demands in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations. New Zealand will host the next round of TPPA talks in Auckland in early December.

And… at the same time he was being catered to by studio bosses, counterparts in New Zealand were aggressively lobbying other officials there:

While John Key was in Los Angeles, top US intellectual property negotiators were in Wellington lobbying for their latest proposals.

The article linked above, published in the New Zealand Herald, properly points out that what Hollywood is asking for of New Zealand “is too high a price” to pay, just to keep Hollywood happy, and to bring big movie productions to New Zealand. It will impact too many other businesses and “stifle the growing local industry.” Hopefully, politicians in New Zealand understand that keeping Hollywood happy seems to result in pretty damaging situations for people in New Zealand and continues to push back against such overreach.

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Comments on “Hollywood Wines & Dines Kiwi Politicians To Get Them To Support Hollywood's Copyright Insanity In TPP”

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fogbugzd (profile) says:

New Zealand has become a favorite location for movies. Hollywood has dumped a ton of money into movies shot in NZ, and there are more movies waiting to be made there. The NZ economy benefits enough from the movie industry to give the MPAA a fair amount of clout with the government.

It is going to be interesting to see how this plays out. Will the government give Hollywood what it wants or will the Dotcom fiasco be too toxic?

However the government goes, the MPAA probably loses. They have spent a huge amount of political capital on NZ. Even if they get everything they are asking for they will have a hollow victory in the long run. Of the many of the things they want in the TPP to fight piracy, none of it is likely to help movie profits. In the meantime exposure of the fiasco with Megaupload is making other countries much less likely to get involved in MPAA-driven tilting at windmills.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

My personal take here is that the MPAA member companies put way more into NZ than anyone would like to admit, spending tons on filming, locations, and the all important “keeping people employed” thing. The NZ government is very unlikely to ignore the economic impact of the movie industry in the country.

However, I don’t expect NZ to completely collapse like a cheap tent. Rather, I expect someone to start a review of how Kim Dotcom got resident status in the country, and possibly for that status to be revoked, such that the attempts to block extradition from NZ will become meanigless as he gets shuffled out the door, no longer a legal resident.

NZ has too much on the table to stand there and try to protect a guy who is pretty much using them as a doormat.

Chargone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

‘course, then the current government runs into issues with the fact that they gave him residency in the first place (which had people pissed off because the process involved was even introduced) which has only been NOT blowing up in their face utterly because he’s subsequently become something of a public figure with popular support.

actually, Key and his mates have managed to walk themselves into a situation where our network is screwed if they go against china, the US is pissed and our security Maybe compromised if they don’t (except it’s Already compromised by US interests, so who cares?), the US and hollywood is pissed if they decide to come clean on the Dotcom thing, and the public is pissed AND they’ve broken the law all over the place if they don’t… (and there’s more things than That that put them between public outrage and US and/or Chinese interests, incidentally… not to mention the places where their own Policy causes paradoxes with internal issues…)

wandered themselves right into a nice little corner between a rock, a hard place, the devil and the deep blue sea. hehe.

‘course, they’re politicians, so the odds of it biting them anything like as hard as it should are low, but still.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

The word is ‘loses’, you ignorant freetard.

You, you there: your morals are loose. You are a loser.

See the difference?

Good, fantastic.

Now please go die in a fire.

Mike Masnick just hates it when copyright law is enforced.

And look at the IQ of his fellow kool-aid drinking zealots. Oof

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

It’s not KDC’s resitence status that protects him from extradition…he has no links to the US, and would have a right to xactly the same legal defences as a non-resident (as indeed some of his co-accused are). And the idea that the NZ econom depends on a few film poductions is preposterous. It’s a very small percenage of GDP, and certainly not what you’d call a sustainable industry. The NZ gvmt would do better to suport a local innovative tech secor.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

@ #4

what has Dotcom done to warrant having his NZ resident status revoked? i would think that if that were to happen now, especially after the Prime Minister has personally (although i suspect hollowly) apologized to him, it would make Keys look a right plum and give him serious shit in Parliament!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

No it was not -he did not deveive anyone in his application, and it was officially approved. The previous convicitons had long since been eradicated from the German penal register and someone in the NZ bureaucracy decided they were not relevant. You may disagree with this decision, but everything was out in the open.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

yes, but that’s a follow on process which has already happened. Z is a tourist destinaton cause fils like Lo fo the Rings, Hobbit etc made it so..but that’s already the case, and no longer relies on movies to make NZ known. NZ now is already known as a beautiful place, and people ravel there becase other people did and told them about it.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Nope, not once has anyone here at Techdirt advocated stopping the MPAA from making their own speech.
What we have a problem with is the content of their speech. We have a problem with them even talking to the New Zealand Prime Minister at all, since the timing of it (right in the middle of the controversial Kim DotCom case) reeks of corruption.

Anonymous Coward says:

I wouldn’t be surprised that Hollywood had a word with John Key or whoever and told them that if they don’t extradite Dotcom or revoke his residency and kick him out of the country then there will be sanctions on NZ and that Hollywood would no longer deal with NZ or put business their way. I expect John Key will bend over for Hollywood and suck up to them in having Dotcoms residency revoked. Once Dotcom is kicked out of the country then it will be much easier to get hold of Dotcom and taken to the US where the FBI will be waiting to have him served once he steps off the plane on to US soil.

Chargone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

‘course, the one thing Key Can’t control by anything even vaguely approaching legal means is the courts.

revoking his residency would pretty much confirm the fact that the entire case is a political stitch-up, the courts would Still be involved, and i’m pretty sure the result would be a collapsed government. (i’m not sure of the exact court processes, but the extradition would fail, for one thing. if they then force him out of the country (which they might find themselves unable to do) i’m pretty sure they would, at least, not be able to send him directly to the sates. not legally, at least.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Kicking him out of NZ wouldn’t result him being sent to the US, but there are a limited number of places that Kim could go and hide without ending up in the US. Unless he took a private plane, he is very likely to land at some point in a country that would arrest him and send him onto the US.

Perhaps he can join Assange hiding out in an embassy because they don’t want to face their legal issues head on.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

If he was kicked out of NZ while the extradition process is running (which i think would be legally impossible, given that a case is before court – look a his co-accused who aren’t), he would be sent back to his hjome country. That’s not the US, but Germany, which never extradites its citizens (actually part of the German constitution)

Chargone (profile) says:

not that the PM will Admit anything like that, oh no.
after all, such behaviour is one of the main things that’s Hammering his popularity. (though media spin and general voter apathy/stupidity may be compensating somewhat.)

also, the three strikes law? yeah. went through the whole process, got ripped out as a bad idea, added back in by the relevant minister as party policy or something, spawned wide scale protest, the entire section was tossed, or something like, then, when parliament was meeting under urgency, supposedly to deal with the Christchurch earthquake, they somehow contrived to add that bit back in again. (meeting under urgency means nothing that is brought to vote goes through the select comity or public consultation stage. it is presented, voted, and they move on. it is used to deal with crises and emergencies, as well as to clear the deck of minor stuff/things that need to be dealt with before parliament resumes in February or so at the end of the year. it’s not uncommon for important stuff to be snuck into the end of year clearance, but the use of an emergency session to deal with a national disaster to pass it is in appallingly bad taste, at best.)

such is my understanding of the sequence of events at least. i may have the details wrong, but the final result Was rammed through under urgency after the earthquake. (and our government isn’t as proportional/representative as it may appear. there’s an obsession with it being able to ‘carry out the business of government without disruption’, nevermind that the disruption in question would, usually, be the crippling of Appallingly bad ideas the current system lets them get through simply by trading their agreement to support someone else’s appallingly bad ideas.)

any other party running the show (except ACT) would have been more resistant to this nonsense (ACT would have folded even quicker/been more accommodating. they’re the ‘subsidise the rich, privatise everything, strip away all regulation, and fuck the public interest’ party, really.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Being Hollywood's Bitch

If politicians worldwide would like to stop being Hollywood’s bitch, the answer is simple. Start a RICO (Racketeer Influenced Criminal Organization) investigation against a few studios. There is plenty of raw material lying around to support that course of action.

Then, when Hollywood comes knocking, the pollies can just say, “Oh no, I couldn’t possibly talk to you. You are under a RICO investigation.”

Voters should take careful note of which pollies want to stay friends with Hollywood versus which ones support the investigation (and make suitable “concerned” noises).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Being Hollywood's Bitch

First off, a RICO investigation isn’t the same as RICO charges. It’s not often that an investigation is announced, and to be fair, don’t change anyone’s legal standing.

Second, you would need something to hang it on. The movie industry is a lot of things, but it isn’t a specifically corrupt organization.

I think it’s amusing that you think that these things can be fabricated out of thin air. Dotcom had to break the law endlessly and rub it in everyone face repeatedly before anything happened to him.

Michael says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Being Hollywood's Bitch

How unfortunate that in this day and age, anyone attempting to innovate is at serious risk of being criminalized. Maybe within 5-10 years, upstarts will have to pass through some sort of government filter at the behest of the RIAA, MPAA, et al. The filthy rich corporations want to control the destiny of the internet.

Scott (profile) says:

Re: Being Hollywood's Bitch

I think they all ready did shitty job with obtaining Megaupload illegally and possible ignoring a judges orders of giving him fair trial.If they truly want to do this,they shouldn’t do so many fuck ups,Which makes me suspect they doing this on purpose to pay lips service to Hollywood. Besides they know they are the wrong by doing illegal seizure but they don’t want Hollywood know of it.

Zakida Paul says:

This is the problem I have with modern politics.

Politicians are far too easy swayed by fancy dinners and shiny donations and this means that multi national corporations have a scary level of access to top level politicians so that they can influence policy.

This must stop. Governments are there to act on behalf of 100% of the population, not 1%.

Anonymous Coward says:

if the Mega case is ignored temporarily, with the attention now being given to what Hollywood are up to with politicians in NZ and including Keys visit to the USA, i would hazard a guess that there would be some serious questions asked over the TPP issue in NZ parliament. i doubt if it would get the backing wanted anyway now, but any sort of softening would be debated pretty strenuously, i suspect. NZ are now realising what morons they made of themselves by introducing the ridiculous ‘3 strikes law’, just to please the US entertainment industries. it’s bad enough having bribes paid and lobbying done in your own country, but when it is extended to other countries to suit your needs/aims but of no benefit to those other countries, sooner or later there is a backlash, and rightly so as well!!

Ninja (profile) says:

It’s interesting, they wouldn’t need to resort to this sort of dirty tactics if they had public support. But they don’t have it, they have a huge and growing opposition. The bright side is that it’ll become more and more expensive as the opposition mounts up to the point it will either be too expensive to get politicians to do what they want and virtually kill their career or it simply will not work anymore.

I’m pretty confident I’ll see the death of the MAFIAA (not the label, the anti-piracy morons). It’ll be a day to remember and party.

Chargone (profile) says:


the bit you seem to be completely missing (corruption is NOT ok and free speech does NOT protect it) is quite telling too.

there is no problem with these organizations having their say. there are MAJOR problems with them doing so behind closed doors with the leader of a Different Country who has ALREADY PROVEN to be woefully untrustworthy…. among a whole laundry list of other things.

WHAT they’re saying is a problem (preventing them saying it is not the solution)
HOW they’re saying it is a problem (preventing them saying it is not the solution. forcing them to say it in the appropriate forum IS…)
the fact that they get to say it at all is not.

basically, preventing corruption and treasonous behaviour (doesn’t meet the legal definition required to go to court, but it sure as hell is that sort of behaviour) on the part of a national leader trumps bogus ‘freedom of speech’ claims.

(not legit ones, but claims that they’re quite entitled to usurp the democratic process and use corrupt and underhanded means to achieve objectives contrary to the public interest because of Free Speech is just nonsense.)

Ugh. i doubt i explained that well. point is, you’re fabricating an issue that ISN”T THERE to attack.
i believe that is a strawman?

Chargone (profile) says:


i was not aware of that, no.

not sure there’s enough weapons around here to do that without subverting the military though.

a few hunting rifles and sports(?) pistols, more swords than you’d expect (though a lot of them are either display blades of dubious utility or training blades… but there are people who make ’em about :D) oddly, a tank here and there (no ammo though) and trebuchets get built on a semi-regular basis as it is…
…. cheap cruise missiles with off the shelf parts are entirely possible (under 3kNZD)… sans warheads.

the same restrictions on weapons that make NZ so much more successful at keeping occupied regions under control also make it harder for us to revolt, ya know? if we were set up like the USA, we’re still small enough that a revolt of that nature could happen and succeed without exceptional circumstances. but we’re not. and most of us are Seriously glad of that. (and it’s one of many reasons so many people have such strong objections to John Key’s agenda and behaviour. we LIKE not being like the USA…)

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